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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 2 (Negative) -- Prohibition: 136 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 2 - The 365 Prohibitions of the Tora

136 - AN UNCLEAN PRIEST EATING TERUMAH


Leviticus 22:4 -- “Whatever man of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or has a discharge, shall not eat the holy offerings until he is clean. And whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse, or a man who has had an emission of semen.”

The punishment for contravention of this prohibition is death by the hand of Heaven. In the ninth chapter of Sanhedrin, an unclean priest who eats of a clean heave offering is included in the list of sinners who are liable to death by the hand of Heaven, and this is justified by His words, They shall therefore keep My ordinance, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby (Leviticus 22:9).*

* Sanh. 83a (Sonc. ed. p. 552)

An unclean priest who eats unclean terumah is punishable by whipping,* but a clean priest who eats unclean terumah incurs no punishment, though he has committed a transgression.**

* Mishneh Torah, Zeraim, Hilchoth Terumoth VII, 1
** Mishneh Torah, Zeraim, Hilchoth Terumoth VII, 3

Since some priests were not learned in the Torah, and therefore did not eat their food in the prescribed condition of cleanness, the heave offering had to be given only to a priest learned in the Torah.*

* Mishneh Torah, Zeraim, Hilchoth Terumoth VI, 2

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